We must work to ensure that 80 years from now we are not commemorating another generation’s sacrifice - Christine Jardine

Have we respected the freedoms D-Day heroes fought for, asks Christine Jardine

I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but on Wednesday the evening light creeping through the curtain was somehow just enough to keep sleep at bay and allow my thoughts to drift to the ceremony I had watched earlier on TV.

The eve of the 80th anniversary of D-day. What had the evening been like then for those waiting?

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One of them, my uncle Andrew, had been in a training camp somewhere in the south of England. I wondered how he, and his comrades had slept.

In the end he was in, what I believe, was the third wave. Wounded in the battle, my grandparents were initially, and wrongly, told he was missing presumed dead.

I learned from my mother, watching the 40th and 50th anniversaries with her, that this was a moment a generation shared a deep connection through the common sacrifice that had defeated tyranny.

But even deeper was the belief that it had been worth it.

The fact that the onslaught of election photo ops, policy announcements and leader debates was interrupted by those commemorations of D-day and the liberation of Europe seems completely appropriate to the moment in which we find ourselves.

As our leaders commemorated June 6th 1944 and the securing of our freedoms, across Europe we are seeing a rise in support for those parties of the right which would undermine them once more.

We see war on mainland Europe again and the fear of Russian aggression towards those countries which were trapped behind the iron curtain which infamously descended across the continent when war ended.

And tension across the globe heightens the fear that we may, yet again be stumbling towards conflict.

The commemoration was a reminder, if any were needed, that those freedoms which we hold so dear, democracy itself, can be easily lost.

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And as we approach the second half of the general election campaign we should perhaps reflect on whether we are living up to those common sacrifices that our grandparents made.

In the 1950s and 60s it was unthinkable that the ideas which blighted the pre war years might re-emerge in modern Europe.

But the reality may be that as time has passed we have become a bit too casual about the dangers.

Our veterans are approaching, or are more than 100 years, and we may lose them soon. We should listen to their words and take on board their significance.

Joe Mines, a 99 year old veteran who was just 19 when he took part in D-day, said war is brutal.

He and his comrades knew the danger of the war, but had no choice.

We have a choice.

We hope that we are electing leaders who will govern through another period of peace for us, but we cannot take it for granted.

As I lay awake on June 5th I wondered how those who, like my uncle, wondered if they would see another dawn would view what we have made of the world they were prepared to die for.

Have we respected the freedoms they fought for. Democracy.

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To respect them we must respect it, vote to protect it, and to secure the freedoms of all those who live in it.

And we must work to ensure that 80 years from now we are not commemorating another generation’s sacrifice.

Christine Jardine is Liberal Democrat Candidate for Edinburgh West



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